Groundhog Landscaping in Londonderry, New Hampshire has added organic garden compost and compost enriched topsoil to their landscape materials division.
Since the company began in 1994, delivery of landscape materials such as bark mulch, screened loam, and gravels have always represented a significant amount of their annual sales.
In 2013, the owner, Todd Bahan, noticed an emerging trend. "People started asking if we carry garden compost," explains Bahan. "It seems that backyard gardening has become a popular trend. These home gardeners were looking for soil rich in organic nutrients. They wanted an alternative to regular screened loam for their vegetable gardens." After researching compost suppliers in the Northeast, Groundhog Landscaping decided to begin offering organic garden compost that is state approved for use in organic farms.
The United States Department of Agriculture regulates and certifies organic farms under strict guidelines regarding pesticide usage, biodiversity, and sustainable farming practices. The soil itself is not certified organic, but in order to be approved for use on organic farms, organic compost must have no bio-solids, sewage sludge or amendments added such as inorganic fertilizers and pesticides. The garden compost provided by Groundhog Landscaping has been tested by the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture and meets those requirements.
While organic agriculture is strictly regulated, there is currently no regulation on using the word "organic" in landscaping. Nevertheless, New Hampshire residents are becoming more conscious of using sustainable landscaping practices. "People are concerned about pesticides on their lawn," notes Sean Kelley, the manager of Groundhog Turf Care. "They want to know about organic lawn care programs, or at least what they can do to promote a healthy lawn without a lot of chemical fertilizers. Top dressing with organic compost can do just that."
In addition to offering garden compost, Groundhog Landscaping also supplies "Super Loam," a pH balanced blend of compost and topsoil formulated specifically for lawns. Unlike most sifted top soils, Super Loam has 50% composted organic matter mixed in which helps grass seed establish quicker and retain moisture during a hot dry summer. Super Loam is also tested by state certified labs and approved for organic agriculture.